Summer Cruise Day 19

We decided to leave at the break of dawn to catch the tail end of the ebbing tide, be clear of the inlet, and ride the flooding tide up the bay. Luckily I set to free us from our slip much earlier than needed, turns out I needed all the time to get out of the slip.

We were behind a very beamy catamaran, the wind was blowing us onto the pier, and we had no water ahead of us. On the aerial picture below, we were tied up where the dinghy is in front of the cat. The cat was a bit further back. 

I untied and tried to prop walk out of the slip, but the wind was blowing me back onto the pier. Then I tried to spring out of the slip, but the wind once again pushed me right back into the slip. Last, I tried to ground the bow on the shallow water ahead of us and swing the stern out, then reverse hard to back out of the slip. This started to work, but then the wind picked up more and we drifted back into the slip. All these attempts seemed futile, as we were unable to get out of the slip. I decided to warp out of the marina without using the engine and this proved to work the best. 

I tied a 300' 1/2" three strand nylon rope to the bow cleat and hopped into Tooth (our rowboat) and rowed the line to the neighboring and windward pier. I tied the end off to the cleat on the pier and rowed back to Wisdom (our Morgan 45). Standing on the bow of Wisdom, I began pulling the warp line from the bow which pulled me right off of the pier, into the wind, and straight to the other pier. As we reached the other pier, I hopped off of the bow and pulled the stern in with a stern line. With the boat tied up to the neighboring pier, I walked it forward to the very end. After securing the dock lines, I raised the sails and released the lines. We were sailing out of the marina without the need to rely on our engine!

Once under sail, we were on a run out of the protected harbor. This helped as we were a slack tide, so we needed to get out of our cove as quickly as possible to catch the flood current that would wash us up the bay. 

Once out in the bay, the wind died completely. We moved along very slowly thanks to the current. The drifter and main were set and waiting for any puff of wind.

We sailed very close to Point No Point Lighthouse and saw more pelicans roosting on it.

A bit further North, we came across more pelicans!

As the day progressed, the wind continued to build. We switched from the drifter to the jib and were moving at a steady 7 to 8 knots. By dusk, the winds were holding steady around 20 knots. We decided to anchor soon and I found an anchorage on the chart that would serve as a wind block. Our plan was to hole in behind the hill and hide in the windshadow. 

As the sun set, the wind was blowing 25 to 27 knots steady. I had wished that we had reefed, but we didn't while the sun was still up. I thought about reefing in the entrance to the anchorage and thought that the rigging is able to withstand these immense forces while propelling us along at 9 knots. If I reefed, our speed would drop markedly and we would arrive at the anchorage even later. I hedged my bets, counting on the wind to drop as soon as we got behind land, and then needing the extra sail area.

We were full sail heading towards land, with high seas and strong winds entering a foreign harbor by night. As we entered, I noticed that the marked channel was very curvy, but the winds allowed us to make it through with only 1 tack. Our plan was to continue until the wind died and then drop the hook. We were going deeper and deeper into the anchorage waiting to find the wind shadow. 

All of a sudden, our speed went from 8 knots to 3 knots as the wind stopped all at once. We were waiting for this moment for quiet some time now and were pleased to know that we had arrived. We ghosted along to a small knoll in the middle of the bay where the water was only 10 feet deep and dropped the hook. We were a little more than a mile from any point of land but protected from the wind. 

After the sails were lashed down, the snubber tied on to the anchor chain, and dinner being prepared; I looked around on the chart plotter to see where we were exactly. We were in the bay just south of the opening to Deltaville! The thought crossed my mind to pull up anchor and go into there for the night, but the idea of navigating that shallow entrance in the dark was not convincing me to leave our quiet, remote, and protected anchorage. We stayed put for the night, sleeping soundly on our return North.

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